STORY, Ind.– A little over an hour from Indianapolis, down the winding country roads off the beaten path in Brown County, you’ll find the tiny town of Story, Indiana.
With a documented population of 3 humans and 4 dogs, this tiny ghost town has made quite a name for itself. Not just because of its scenic beauty as a venue or the delicious cuisine on their recently reimagined menu– but because decades of local lore claims there’s one guest who never checked out of this beloved bed and breakfast.
We’re getting the story on Story Inn for this trip In Your Neighborhood.
“Story was founded back in 1851,” explained Story Inn Director of Operations, Kate Ebel. “Dr. George Story was awarded a land grant from the president and moved here in that time to found the town.”
The heart of Story, Indiana, is the Story Inn—the state’s oldest country inn. It’s also a restaurant, grill, wedding and festival venue brimming with history.
Downstairs you’ll find the tavern that once housed an illegal still during the prohibition. It’s actually the only original part of the building that did not burn down during a fire back in 1916.
These days, the tavern still offers a speakeasy vibe and plenty of local libations.
“All of our tap lists are always local… either Indiana, Ohio or Kentucky,” Ebel noted. “Same with our wine list. We have over 200 wines in our wine cellar. We try to use all local wines as well but good wine does come from Spain and France as well do you’ll see that all intermixed in our list.”
Upstairs, the old general store was transformed into a restaurant dining area where guests enjoy sustainable and locally-sourced cuisine.
“We’re one of the only places in Brown County that grows our food that we prepare in our restaurant…There’s not a lot of places that are able to do that,” she said.
They offer a weekly 3-to-5 course prix fixe menu created by chef –and Brown County native— Dan Thomas.
“Every week… we post a new menu and it’s completely different from week to week, which is super exciting to get to try out different things,” said Ebel. “So if you come last week or this week, you get to try something new.”
During our visit, we went behind the scenes in the kitchen as chef Thomas made fresh Savage Blonde oysters with vichyssoise, trout caviar and fennel as well as handmade lobster mousse ravioli with squid ink striped pasta, lobster demi beurre monte and fennel pollen.
Then, tuck in for the night in one of their 14 accommodations.
“We have 7 cottages on property. Each one is a different homestead that was built back in the 1800’s [and] all of the cabins are named after the families that lived in the cabins,” Ebel explained. “So we have the Schultz Haus, the Wilkerson Homestead and the Doc George Story house.”
The old grain mill has also been turned into an event space and overnight accommodation. And of course, there are multiple rooms upstairs in the inn itself.
But none of which get more attention than the notorious Blue Lady Room.
Here, some believe you can summon the ghost of Dr.George Story’s wife by turning on the blue light.
“The Blue Lady was first seen on the balcony of the Blue Lady room,” said Ebel. “A guest came down and told the front desk, ‘Hey there’s a lady that’s dressed all in blue.. I saw her walking through the garden… who is that?’ And we had no idea.”
Over the years, guests have documented their experiences in the guestbook.
“We’ve changed out the guestbook several times and it’s still the same story coming to us over and over and over,” she said. “People have the light smell of cherry tobacco. Little things have happened in the rooms– maybe the lights flicker or they felt someone in the room.. a presence.”
Four Things You Need to Know About Story Inn:
- Story was founded back in 1851 by Dr. George Story, who was awarded a land grant from President Millard Fillmore. In its heyday, Story had two general stores, a church, one-room schoolhouse, grain mill, sawmill, slaughterhouse, blacksmith’s forge and a post office. But it became a bit of a ghost town after the Great Depression. Then, in the 1980’s, the old General Store was purchased and turned into Story Inn—which still serves as the heart of the tiny town today.
- Story Inn is more than just a bed and breakfast. According to Story Inn’s Director of Operations, Kate Ebel, it also features popular wedding and event spaces, a tavern, grill and restaurant featuring chef-driven cuisine that is locally sourced (much of which is grown in their own garden) and sustainable. They offer a 3-5 course prix fixe dinner menu, seasonal grill menu and delicious brunch on weekends.
- Ebel says the Blue Lady Room is still one of their most sought after rooms because many have claimed it is haunted by Dr. George Story’s wife. The Blue Lady room books up months in advance, so they suggest booking soon if you have your eye on a spooky stay in 2021!
- Story Inn is also a very popular destination for weddings and have already booked up almost every weekend for 2021. It’s just as popular for events and festivals like the Indiana Wine Fair [which had to be cancelled this year due to COVID-19]. But they recently began launching some fun outdoor events like comedy nights which have been a hit. Going forward, they have some fun Christmas themed-events planned as well, so keep your eye on their social media for more info.
So, has Ebel personally experienced any run-ins with the Blue Lady?
“I try not to think about it because I have to lock the doors at night… So whatever I can do not to scare myself and hurt myself trying to get out of here in the process would be great,” she said with a laugh.
For more information about Story Inn, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
While in Brown County, check out these other businesses located off the beaten path:
- Salt Creek Winery
- eXplore Brown County at Valley Branch Retreat
- Farmhouse Cafe & Tea Room
- TC Steele State Historic Site